23 January 2015 In Drinking & Eating Patterns

BACKGROUND: Uni-dimensional measures of alcohol consumption may be unable to fully capture the complexity of adolescent drinking and experience of alcohol-related harms. Latent class analysis provides an empirical method to understand different adolescent drinking patterns.

METHODS: Latent class analysis was used to create typologies of drinking among the 5018 current drinkers in the national Youth '07 survey. Determinants of drinking patterns were identified using multinomial logistic regression.

RESULTS: Four latent classes were identified, demonstrating an overall increase in risk of alcohol-related outcomes from increasing consumption. One class strongly deviated from this pattern, having moderate consumption patterns but disproportionately high levels of alcohol-related problems. Multinomial logistic regression found that the strongest predictors of belonging to high-risk drinking typologies were having a positive attitude to regular alcohol use, buying own alcohol, peers using alcohol, and obtaining alcohol from friends and/or other adults. Other significant predictors included being male, having a strong connection to friends, having parents with a low level of knowledge of their daily activities and poor connection to school. Class membership also varied by ethnicity.

CONCLUSION: The latent class approach demonstrated variability in alcohol-related harms across groups of students with different drinking patterns. Longitudinal studies are necessary to determine the causes of this variability in order to inform the development of targeted policy and preventative interventions. Legislative controls, such as increasing the legal purchase age and reducing the commercial availability of alcohol, will continue to be important strategies for reducing harm in young people.

23 January 2015 In Drinking & Eating Patterns

Aims : The purpose of this study is to examine the gender-specific associations of different dimensions of individual-level social capital with regular alcohol consumption and binge drinking in 16-17 years old adolescents in Crete, Greece.

Methods : Of the 835 randomly selected students, 708 completed the Youth Social Capital Scale and the Health Behaviours in School-aged Children (HBSC) questionnaire from April through June 2008 and 650 (92%) were included in this analysis. The outcome of interest was regular alcohol use and binge drinking. A gender specific backward stepwise logistic multivariate regression was performed adjusted for potential confounders.

Findings : For both boys and girls, higher score on some structural social capital subscales was associated, per unit increase, with increased likelihood of regular drinking. Neighbourhood connections were also associated with increased binge drinking in girls. Cognitive social capital subscales were associated with decreased likelihood of binge drinking in girls. For both genders, total social capital-score was positively associated with the probability of regular, but not of binge drinking.

Conclusions : Cognitive and structural social capital dimensions have different patterns of association with regular and binge alcohol use in adolescent boys and girls. Social capital's dimensions should receive greater emphasis for the design of effective preventive interventions in adolescence, particularly in the light of an increasing prevalence of alcohol consumption in modern societies.

04 December 2014 In Social and Cultural Aspects

AIMS: To develop an approach for monitoring national alcohol marketing policies globally, an area of the World Health Organization's (WHO) Global Alcohol Strategy.

METHODS: Data on restrictiveness of alcohol marketing policies came from the 2002 and 2008 WHO Global Surveys on Alcohol and Health. We included four scales in a sensitivity analysis to determine optimal weights to score countries on their marketing policies and applied the selected scale to assess national marketing policy restrictiveness.

RESULTS: Nearly, 36% of countries had no marketing restrictions. The overall restrictiveness levels were not significantly different between 2002 and 2008. The number of countries with strict marketing regulations did not differ across years.

CONCLUSION: This method of monitoring alcohol marketing restrictiveness helps track progress towards implementing WHO'S Global Alcohol Strategy. Findings indicate a consistent lack of restrictive policies over time, making this a priority area for national and global action.

04 December 2014 In Social and Cultural Aspects

OBJECTIVES: To investigate the hypothesis that exposure to alcohol consumption in movies affects the likelihood that low-risk adolescents will start to drink alcohol.

METHODS: Longitudinal study of 2346 adolescent never drinkers who also reported at baseline intent to not to do so in the next 12 months (mean age 12.9 years, SD = 1.08). Recruitment was carried out in 2009 and 2010 in 112 state-funded schools in Germany, Iceland, Italy, Netherlands, Poland, and Scotland. Exposure to movie alcohol consumption was estimated from 250 top-grossing movies in each country in the years 2004 to 2009. Multilevel mixed-effects Poisson regressions assessed the relationship between baseline exposure to movie alcohol consumption and initiation of trying alcohol, and binge drinking (>/= 5 consecutive drinks) at follow-up.

RESULTS: Overall, 40% of the sample initiated alcohol use and 6% initiated binge drinking by follow-up. Estimated mean exposure to movie alcohol consumption was 3653 (SD = 2448) occurrences. After age, gender, family affluence, school performance, TV screen time, personality characteristics, and drinking behavior of peers, parents, and siblings were controlled for, exposure to each additional 1000 movie alcohol occurrences was significantly associated with increased relative risk for trying alcohol, incidence rate ratio = 1.05 (95% confidence interval, 1.02-1.08; P = .003), and for binge drinking, incidence rate ratio = 1.13 (95% confidence interval, 1.06-1.20; P < .001).

CONCLUSIONS: Seeing alcohol depictions in movies is an independent predictor of drinking initiation, particularly for more risky patterns of drinking. This result was shown in a heterogeneous sample of European youths who had a low affinity for drinking alcohol at the time of exposure.

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